FIFINE K678 Studio USB Mic with A Live Monitoring, Gain Controls, A Mute Button for Podcasting
Top-and-low-end heavy tone is born for spoken words.
Shins in voice-over, streaming, podcasting.
All-metal body & stand, quick mute button with LED indicator.
Latency-free monitoring jack, headphone & microphone controls.
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The sturdy construction is armed to the teeth
All Metal Body
The rounded shape and the all-black finish may make it looks understated. But when you actually hold it in your hand, the weight will just up the professional feel at a stroke. To be honest, sometimes you even have to pay the price for such kind of heavy-duty, like using it with an arm stand, you must tighten the nuts quite hard.
The triangle stand that comes with the package is nowhere close to a poor relation of the mic. Because not only the special shape sets it apart from the others, but the metal construction matches the mic perfectly well. And it even has a user-friendly feature hiding underneath. Each leg of the stand has rubber pads to prevent the mic from sliding away randomly.
Plug&Play USB & Hook-up&Go Adapter
The included USB cable and the arm stand adapter is hard to keep up with the pace of the microphone to be all metal. But the convenience does lose a bit of its charm. Though it is still an old-fashioned micro-USB port, what's the matter if it can get the mic up and running on Windows, Mac and Play Station (incompatible with Xbox) in just a second? The shape of the adapter may look a bit weird, but as long as it actually holds up the mic firmly when connecting to a boom arm, it is an useful adapter then.
Streamers' favorite bits
- If you are not using it for live streaming, it seems that a volume dial is not that necessary. Before you kick off the vocal or voice-over recording, you would always want to run a test to make sure everything is checked. But if it happens that you need to do some live broadcast or streaming, it always feels safe and good to have a physical volume control to cover your back. Level up or down is all done through the input control.
- The quick mute button coming up next is also more useful for any live application. When you cannot help coughing or sneezing, which generates uncomfortable noises to the listeners' ears, this feature is the best solution to it. And with a LED indicator glowing either red or green to give you mute/unmute status, your live broadcast or web conferencing will be hard to fault!
A must-have feature for recording
- When using a USB microphone, the most tricky thing is not about getting the exact sound quality that you hear from a setup of XLR mic, but the monitoring part. As part of the XLR setup, the audio interface provides latency-free monitoring that you do not find on most budget USB mics. But this K678 is exceptional. No more bothers about how your voice will sound like in the final production. Instead of spending a minimum budget of $100 on a podcast or music recording setup, this $60 all-in-one microphone can pull off the trick as well.
- What makes the monitoring feature a party piece, is not just latency-free but also output level-adjustable. Right below the microphone volume dial sits the headphone control. It is not capable of setting levels for the microphone sound and computer playback separately. Although the usage for streaming is limited, the convenience of a physical dial redeems slightly. Because you still can adjust the overall output level without stop and pull out the sound control panel.
The underdog bites back
For sure the XLR setup is the blue blood of the history of condenser microphones. The time when the recording was exclusive to a few professional musicians and audio engineers had passed. For amateurs to get started, what could be much easier than using USB condenser microphones. Particularly an all-in-one solution that has the merits of an XLR setup built-in: gain control, instant mute and live monitoring and the simplicity of the USB connection. When running an XLR setup, you are almost not allowed to make mistakes. Because turning one knob wrong, you will not know whether you can find out and fix it in time, and your show is at risk. A well-equipped USB microphone is a different story, you can quickly mute the mic and then troubleshoot less than three controls to solve the problem.
The convenience of setting up a USB microphone may outdo an XLR one. When it comes to sound quality, a proper condenser mic (with XLR connection) shines through, can this USB mic keep up?
The round shape is more than a retro throwback, but the visualization of the microphone's well-rounded tone. Doesn't it catch your imagination? It feels smooth when you touch it, it sounds smooth if it starts to reproduce your voice. Because of the metal body and metallic finish, it also feels cold when it is held in your hands, but the reproduction of your voice is warm and deep, perfect for your radio podcast episode.
But bother not the thick low-ends will make your voice unclear. To keep in line with the character of the FIFINE brand, the clarity of the highs and the details up top are something that can be missed.
The convenience is in USB microphones' favor again if a run-and-gun style of recording is necessary. With a proper USB adapter, you can have this mic up and running with iPhone & iPad and Android anytime and anywhere. It is the same connection for an XLR setup, but the last thing you want is to carry a bulky heavy audio interface around. It is not a necessary trick for a born-to-be-home-studio computer microphone, but isn't it just good to have such convenience as an extra benefit?